A Life Skills Class for Teens that Nearly Runs Itself

Teenagers like to interact with each other rather than sit still for lectures. Playing to this tendency, Joyce Bartels-Daal uses Money Habitudes as the basis for a money-based life skills class. Students enthusiastically dive into the activity and need little oversight. They also discover how to be better with money and how to talk about the difficult topic. When Joyce Bartels-Daal, managing director of Aruba Learning, was asked by a school system in Aruba to create a life skills class, she proposed one that would help teens develop a better understanding of themselves around the very important issue of money and finances. The concept was a good fit for the self-improvement program; although parents, teachers and administrators saw the value, the students themselves put money at the top of their list in a questionnaire soliciting their desired seminars. The resultant class revolves around Money Habitudes cards.

Contact: Joyce Bartels-Daal, Managing Director, Aruba Learning

Situation: Joyce Bartels-Daal teaches a money-based life skills class in a local school system in Aruba.

Audience: Teenagers, ages 13-20, that use the class as a complement to other classes the school teaches that cover topics like time management and communications skills

Why use the cards:

  • The cards provide an opportunity for teens to interact with each other rather than sit still for lectures.
  • Students need little oversight with the Money Habitudes card activity.
  • The groups for teens last only an hour.
  • The cards enable the teacher to “hit the ground running” with valued material that is necessary.
  • It engages the teens who typically have a short attention span.
  • Using the Money Habitudes cards give the teenagers the freedom to make conversation a healthy part of learning and self-development plays to their natural tendencies.

How cards are used:

  • Therefore, she does a very minimal introduction to the cards, mainly talking about how and why they were created. And then, with little fanfare, she turns the decks of Money Habitudes for Teens over to the students and lets them start playing with them.
  • She’s used the cards with groups as large as 100 but feels that 50 is a more effective size.
  • As they open the decks and start sorting the cards, they start talking, forming small groups on their own to extract meaning from individual cards and the larger patterns that emerge.
  • Finally, they use the included interpretation cards to better understand their own habits and attitudes related to money.

Outcomes:

  • That interaction between the teenagers by using the Money Habitudes cards gets them more involved and makes the session easier and more enjoyable for both the teenagers and the instructors.
  • “The best part is they just like to play with the cards. They look at them, turn them around, talk about them and then relate it to themselves. For that, they don’t need you that much,” she says. “It’s sort of like a group coaching itself.”
  • “The message that is given to students by Bartels-Daal at the beginning of the class: “We’re not going to teach you how to make a budget. We’re going to help you understand yourself better and, by understanding yourself better, you’ll be able to acquire or create those habits you need for success.” She sums up the value proposition as: “Know yourself so you can manage your money better.”
  • They were very quick in getting to the results and also quick to say, ‘This and this and this applies to me and I need to make this change and this change,'” Bartels-Daal says.

Observations:

  • “I’ve noticed that, especially with the teens, the more you let them do their own thing, it works better. They’re not into lectures; they want to figure it out for themselves,” she says, noting that the students have not had any issues understanding the English cards, even though it’s their second language.
  • “The best part is they just like to play with the cards. They look at them, turn them around, talk about them and then relate it to themselves. For that, they don’t need you that much,” she says. “It’s sort of like a group coaching itself.”
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